Thursday, April 26, 2012

Full Day

One year ago today I attended my first NA meeting.

The week before I had attended my first Parent's Meeting at the recovery house where we'd dropped Max off a few weeks earlier. It was not a typical meeting, we were told as we arrived, because the 'Alumni Over 30' were going to join us.

('Alumni Over 30' are guys who are over 30 years of age who have finished their rehab treatment.)

So at that first meeting, I met Bev. She was the mom of TWO sons going through the program. Both her boys were at the meeting and shared their stories, and I was filled with hope. Her sons seemed like awesome young men.

Then a guy named Jon shared his story, with his mom giving her perspective as well. I loved their relationship and was encouraged by Jon's enthusiasm for 'looking out for the new guy'.

At the end of the meeting, we were informed that the following week, instead of a regular meeting, they suggested that us parent's go to the Wednesday night NA meeting. It was going to be a special one; Jon would be getting his One Year Cake.

So the following week, another mom and I joined our sons at the local church hall. It was filled to capacity with loud, enthusiastic, clear-eyed, foul-mouthed, young men and women. The first time you do anything is always the most memorable, no? I will never forget that night. It was the first time I heard young men publicly bless and affirm a peer transparently and with heart. These were not churched kids. Most of them didn't come from a background that included speaking their testimonies in front of a church congregation. But that's what it felt like. But with lots of swear words.

And the love in that room? Incredible. All these people telling Jon how his recovery had impacted their lives. How his friendship had made all the difference in their own quest for living clean. It was nothing like I expected. It was one of my most favorite nights.

I left there, praying that Jon and Max's paths would cross, because he seemed like a great role model.

A few weeks later, Max called me, pretty excited. He'd just been offered a "job" (paid chore, actually) working in the Food Shop (kitchen) with Jon, who was (and still is) the chef. And Max had chosen his sponsor - one of Bev's sons. I sensed God's hand in all these relationships.

Anyway, fast forward one year later, to tonight. It was Jon's Two Year Cake night and Max said it was OK if I came. So that was the plan. Go to work. Go to New West. Come home and bake two cakes.


I had SUCH a fun day at work.
I told Drew that I had an epiphany. I love going to work when my job includes training people. I am jazzed when I get the privilege of sharing my (itsy bitsy) knowledge with a captive audience. My time at Arrow is winding down and before I leave I need to teach those left behind everything I know. Oh my goodness. So. Much. Fun.

Today is was creating data files, converting lists from one format to another, creating reports, designing communication pieces using a bulk email server, and so on. Pure joy.

I wonder if I can find another job that allows me the opportunity to share knowledge with willing students? Honest. It's the best way to spend a day.

God? Where am I going next? Do you have something lined up? How will you tell me? I am trusting that You have a plan, and that it's a good one. 


On Easter Sunday, there was an engagement at the lake. By fluke I was there. With my camera. So I took photos. OF COURSE I DID. They were right in my back yard, being all in love and whatnot.

I printed off a bunch of images and burned the best 150 photos onto a disk. I put this all into an envelope with a Congrats on Your Engagement card and left it outside my front door on my green bench. He, (Nick) was going to pick up the envelope last week. I assumed he picked it up last Thursday. He didn't. But it was gone - because THE PAPER GIRL TOOK IT. Seriously.

So, today at work, he got in touch with me and said he was going to drop by this evening to pick up the disk. I told him to come after 10, because I wasn't going to be home til then.

Thank you God, for love. For couples in love. For allowing me to be at the right place at the right time. Thanks that my impromptu photo session is a gift that they are thankful for. Can that happen more often? I love taking pics of happy people. Thank you, God, for the happy people in my life.

Since my dad went into the hospital on Feb 20, he has kept us on a rollercoaster. He has not yet made it for 72 consecutive hours of stability. There's always something. By Tuesday night, I thought we were heading into our first 3 day run of no emergencies. I was wrong.

He fell out of bed. And was found on the floor. TWICE during the night.

He wants to get up. He wants to leave.
And he certainly doesn't sleep at night.

Last weekend we were discussing the possibility of bringing dad home. This latest episode definitely eliminated that option. No Way mom can handle him by herself if he's tossing himself onto the floor in the middle of the night. So we're back to looking into Nursing Home alternatives and the considerable red tape that is wrapped up in that process.

I got to the hospital at 5:00 pm, just in time to feed my dad. The nurse helped me sit him up and adjust his position with pillows and manpower. His roommates let me know that he's been restless, continually trying to get out of bed. When I left the room to get a straw, he reached out and grabbed the beets and had them spilled onto his lap by the time I got back.

Oh dad.

After I had finished feeding him everything edible on his tray, I told him I was going downstairs to buy some nail clippers. He was not to move from his bed. I looked him in the eyes and said, "Dad? You CANNOT get out of bed. Your legs aren't strong right now. You will fall. Do you understand? STAY IN BED. I'll be right back." (Huh. Legs aren't strong enough. He went in to the hospital weighing 220 pounds. Today? He weighs 144. He has no strength anywhere. Just a steely determination to not die.)

I zipped down 3 flights of stairs, raced through 2 long hallways, bought the clippers and was back in his room in 6 minutes. John, the fellow across from him, said, "I don't want to be a tattletale, but he tried to get out of bed as soon as you left. He's trying to kick the covers off his feet." Dad scowled at him, and turned away.

I clipped his fingernails (which is more than I've been doing with my own these days. I've started biting them again.) (What is wrong with me?), changed his movie from Shane to Ben Hur, kissed his forehead, told him I loved him, begged him to stay in bed, and left.

Heavy was my heart.

O God. What is going on? What is your plan for dad's life? Can you keep an eye on him tonight? Help him to relax and sleep tonight, please, I pray. Can you sit on his chest so he can't thrust himself out of bed? Please keep him safe. Don't allow his bones, especially his hips, to shatter, with all this nighttime activity. Amen.

Dad's old roommate, George? Was transferred, kicking and screaming, from Surrey Hospital (after being in that corner bed for 9 months) to a 'holding facility' in New West on Tuesday morning. Because we never got the chance to properly thank him for keeping an eye on dad for us, (and because there's a good chance dad will be joining him there while we wait for a bed to open up in Elim or Fleetwood) I decided to pop in and bring him a small token of appreciation along with a card. (I will keep Hallmark in business.) 

It took three tries for me to find "Queen's Care Home".
And once I got into the building, I realized I was woefully unprepared.
I don't know George's last name. And there is no reception area. Just lots of long hallways and nursing stations and patient rooms.
It's an older facility, with dark halls and small windows. On a grey, wet, day, it didn't seem terribly inviting, even though it wasn't awful.
I went from nurse's station to nurse's station on each floor, asking if they'd received a "George from Surrey yesterday". Everyone was wonderfully kind and completely unhelpful. After wandering around for an hour, looking in rooms and reading name tags, I could not find the man. He was not there.

I took my card and candy along with my sad story ("George was my dad's roommate for the past two months at Surrey Hospital. He was transferred here before we had a chance to properly say thanks. I'd just like to give him a card ...") and left the building. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if dad was transferred here. His level of care would not increase, nor would his comfort level, but at least it didn't feel like a warehouse or prison. It, however, would be wildly inconvenient for us to visit.

Oh, God. Please take care of George, where ever he is. And give us the strength to deal with dad's care. It is overwhelming, and we are getting tired. Could you arrange a miracle? Maybe straight from the hospital to the care home? This holding facility just feels burdensome.


From there, I headed over to pick up some gift cards to hand out to the guys taking clean time tonight. I got to the hall just as the meeting was starting at 8; Max had saved a seat for me.
Jon's Two Year Cake was just as heartwarming and inspirational as his One Year Cake was. This year, Max got up and shared which is always a hightlight for me. I love NA meetings. SO filled with hope.

At the end, Jon got up and shared his story while encouraging everyone in the room to keep at it. He thanked his friends, and marveled at how far he's come in two years, and I just couldn't hold in the tears.

The evening ends with everyone (EVERYONE) standing in a circle, with their arms around each other, reciting the serenity prayer out loud. Really loud. That always gets me too. It's like singing How Great Thou Art.

Thank you God for this place and these people. Thank you for this community that Max is apart of. I pray You would protect these rooms against Satan's plans to bring despair and discouragement. Thank you for the stories that are being lived out, the lives that are being transformed. Thank you for NA and the people who keep it going. Please bless Max and his buddies, and continue to reveal Yourself to them as The only Higher Power. God? You are awesome.


I left New West, had a package to pick up and drop off, then made it home by 10 pm. The newly engaged couple was waiting for me in my driveway.

We entered the house together and were greeted by Brett and Drew who were scrapbooking at the kitchen table. (Grade 12 Portfolios; which they were supposed to have started in Grade 10, were being started and finished tonight.)

My heart sang with joy.
They knew where the supplies were AND HOW TO USE THEM.
I? Have done my job of raising this boy well.

I got photos and disks made for Nick and Bekah, talked to them about summer wedding plans, then moved on to helping Drew locate photos for his project and print them off on my new printer/scanner/copier/fax machine that I bought last night from London Drugs at 9:45 pm for $79.95.

While they were finishing up the gluing and sticking I made a cake. I was supposed to make two 3-layer cakes this evening, but, realized, after taking apart my kitchen, that I only have two round cake pans. So. I made two rounds, instead of six. I will have to rush home after work tomorrow to make the rest. (Craft night at my house tomorrow. Pics will follow. You'll see why I needed so many layers. Oh, Pinterest. How I love thee.)

Drew went to bed at 12:30 am. Brett worked til 2 am. And now? At 3:20 am? I am going to call it a day as well.

God? Thank you for emotions and feelings. I think I've experienced the entire spectrum today. Today was Your day, and I was glad in it. Be with those I love; hold them close, reveal Yourself to them in undeniable ways. Enable them to respond. 
Encourage George. Protect dad. Strengthen mom. Be with Max and crew - continue to give them hearts for the new guys. Give Clint wisdom. Pour your knowledge all over Drew. Guide our paths, lead us I pray.

1 comment:

Kim N. said...

Well you finally did it Jane. I am blubbering away after reading this lovely post. So glad you are looking for the fingerprints of God in all of these facets of your (very busy) life.
The portfolio crafting stuff is all over my dining room table too as Rachel tries to get that thing finished.